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Natural Disasters: Hawaii's Volcanoes

The Linda Hall Library has a wealth of material on earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and volcanoes. This libguide highlights a small portion of this material.

Video of the Kilauea Volcano

Click here for more video footage on the Kilaeua Volcano 2018 from the US Geological Survey, or here for spectacular photos by Getty Images.

The book list from the June 2018 display on Volcanoes is here 

Hawaii's Volcanoes

The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) currently monitors six volcanoes in the state: 

  • Kilauea means “much spreading” in Hawaiian.  It's s the youngest and most active on the Island of Hawaii and home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.
  • Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth (13,678 feet high).  It's has erupted 33 times since 1843.  At one point in 1984, Mauna Loa and Kilauea erupted simultaneously; Mauna Loa hasn't erupted since
  • The last activity for Hualālai was in 1801.  It generated a lava flow that reached the sea; the Keahole Airport was built on top of the larger lava flow
  • Mauna Kea, or "white mountain":  the highest point in the state.  It's about a million years old; the only Hawaiian volcano with distinct evidence of glaciation
  • Lō‘ihi is the only known active Hawaiian underwater volcano.  In 1997, University of Hawaii scientists installed a submarine observatory nicknamed HUGO, (Hawaii Undersea Geological Observatory; since discontinued)
  • Haleakalā: the only active volcano on Maui, covering over 75% of the island. The "House of the Sun” was home to the grandmother of the demigod Maui. She helped Maui imprison the Sun there in order to lengthen the day

In Government Documents Collection

In Book Collection


Volcano Watch is a weekly feature of the Hawaii-Tribune Herald newspaper. This article, "No Signs of Slowing Down", features the summit eruption's 9th anniversary. (

  • Maccaughey, Vaughan, Vegetation of Hawaiian Lava Flows.* Botanical Gazette, v. 64, no. 5 (1917): pp. 386-420
  • Stearns, Harold T. The Keaiwa or 1823 Lava Flow from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii.*   Journal of Geology, v. 34, no. 4 (1926): pp. 336–351
  • TL Wright and TJ Takahashi, Hawaii bibliographic database.*  Bulletin of volcanology, v. 59 no. 4 (February 1998): pp 276–28. 

Abstract: The Hawaii bibliographic database has been created to contain all of the literature, from 1779 to the present, pertinent to the volcanological history of the Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain. 

  • Kauahikaua, J.P., and Babb, J.L., comps. and eds., Conversing with Pelehonuamea—A workshop combining 1,000+ years of traditional Hawaiian knowledge with 200 years of scientific thought on Kīlauea volcanism (ver. 1.1, June 2017): U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2017–1043, 169 p.,

Content Note: These proceedings are transcripts of oral presentations illustrated with PowerPoint presentations or charts.

  • Michaud, Jon-Pierre, et al. Emergency Department Visits and “Vog”-Related Air Quality in Hilo, Hawai’i.*  Environmental Research, v. 95, no. 1 (May 2004): p. 11

* = available in LHL print collection only

Images from the Kilauea Volcano

Golfer play as ash plume rises from the Kilauea volcano (photo: Getty images)

Thermal image of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent (USGS)

Lava entering the ocean at Dawn (photo: Getty images)

2013 photo of Kilauea Volcano Lava Flow Sea Entry 3-The Big Island Hawaii (credit: Brian Harig)